Charges Brought Against Two British Jockeys, Bookmaker
by Mark Popham
Date Posted: 6/12/2006 1:45:24 PM
Last Updated: 6/15/2006 7:35:41 AM

British jockeys Brian Reilly and Dean Williams, together with bookmaker Owen Churchill, face various charges brought by that country's Horseracing Regulatory Authority after an investigation into betting on 10 races staged between Dec. 21, 2004 and Feb. 11, 2005.

These were announced on June 12 and there is speculation that the HRA, responsible for disciplinary and regulatory oversight of British racing after evolving out of the British Jockey Club earlier this year, is intending to bring similar charges against four more higher-profile jockeys later this month following another investigation.

The HRA charges that Reilly and Williams communicated directly or indirectly to Churchill information about horses that was not publicly available for reward, gift, favor or benefit in kind: aiding or abetting the commission by Churchill of a breach of Rule 201(v) (namely the commission by Churchill of a corrupt or fraudulent practice in relation to racing by laying the horses to lose having received information that was not publicly available) by providing such information to Churchill; misleading or, by an overt act, endeavoring to mislead a Jockey Club investigating officer by providing inaccurate and incomplete answers in the course of the investigations into the running and riding of horses, and into the communications between themselves and Churchill.

Additionally, the HRA will look to see in relation to three rides whether Reilly was in breach of either Rule 157 or 158 by failing to ensure that these horses ran on their merits and Dean Williams will be quizzed over this as far as one ride goes.

Paul Struthers, spokesman for the HRA, said: "We have a team of betting analysts who work for us and they highlighted suspicious betting activities with regard to one account holder who was Owen Churchill. We have a memorandum of understanding with betting exchanges and bookmakers and, as usual, they were very helpful in providing information regarding this investigation. Phone records would have been key too."

Reilly, 25, had his best-ever year with 38 winners in 2005, while 24- year-old Williams' top tally of nine came in 2004.

Richard Brooks, the lawyer representing the two jockeys, commented: "It is inappropriate for my clients to comment at this early stage. This is a process of inquiry that will examine the evidence in the case, some of which can be described as thin. At present, my clients do not have the financial resources to do justice to themselves but have cooperated with the HRA and trust that a fair process will result in them being exonerated."

There is also a long-running police investigation, which started in January 2004 and centers on 93 races between 2002 and 2004 into possible race fixing. Looking into alleged corruption in Britain, the investigation has involved over 20 people including jockeys and trainers and is due to come to a conclusion by July 3.

The best known jockey caught up in that City of London police investigation is former British champion Kieren Fallon who was not charged toward the outset. He, like all the others involved in this investigation, maintains his innocence

Struthers added: "The City of London police probe is their investigation -- we have nothing currently to do with it. We passed information on to them when our investigation grew to such a size and involved potential criminal charges."

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